Monday, September 24, 2012

The Hardest Job

Well, my in-home nursery school won't be opening until next fall. Which is both a disappointment, and a huge weight off my shoulders. I suppose it's unrealistic to expect that I can conceive of opening a school in my house and then get it off the ground in under 6 months. :) But then again, what fun is realism all the time, right?

Speaking of realism, I've stumbled on a few too many articles recently about how parenting is the hardest gig going. And each time I can't help think (like we used to say in high school): for real? I'm tired of that trope. Am I the only one who disagrees? I've never worked in a coal mine, but even so, I'll take parenting any day of the week. And actually, I find childcare harder than parenting. It's all the same expectations, at least for the hours you're doing it, but you don't love the kids the way you love your own, which makes the work that much harder to do. Motherhood has never kept me up all hours of the night with knots in my stomach, the way teaching special education in a classroom of kids called "emotionally disturbed" did. Give me a gaggle of kids of my own over another day of that year of hell!

But maybe my particular cross to bear isn't parenthood so much as paid employment. Now, that conundrum has never come easy for me. Always underpaid, underemployed, overworked, overwhelmed or overeducated! I only ever hit the sweet spot once with employment, and for the life of me, I don't know how to find my way back to that balance.

I know what to do with my kids. When it's hard, it's also pretty clearly my own fault. I always know what the problem is, and how to solve it. Get out of the house more, and get them running around. Quit bickering with my husband in earshot of the kids. Don't use a snappy tone of voice if I don't want to hear a snappy tone of voice used at me.

All of that seems simple in comparison to: how do I earn a living? And especially: how do I earn a decent living doing something that interests me, while homeschooling my kids? I find answering that question infinitely harder than motherhood itself.

There was never a magic moment where becoming a parent changed me. If I changed, it was like slipping on a new skin that fit so comfortably I never noticed the difference. But losing my job, deciding to homeschool, and trying to create a new career, is breaking me down, and rebuilding me. Someday -I hope- I will look back on these days and be able to say: of course it was hard. You built something from scratch that hadn't been there before. And now it's so amazing/rewarding/much easier than it used to be!

I can imagine some mothers might say that very thing about their difficult babies, who grow up to be far less challenging children.

I only hope I can someday say it about my career!


  1. You're reading my mind! I always here people say that parenthood is the hardest job of all and I just don't get it. It's NOT that hard! I never tell anyone I think that though because it seems like such a big parenthood secret. Like, if I let on about it I'll get kicked out of the club or something. Way to speak your mind!

    And good luck with the in-home nursery. I can't wait to hear more as you get started.

    1. After I wrote this, I remembered that my mom always scoffs at people with 2 kids who say parenting is easy. She has 6, so she always rolls her eyes and says: Of COURSE it's easy with 2! It doesn't STAY easy when you have 4 more! So I guess I should just speak for myself and my 2 here! Haha!